Lifting of Rental and Age Strata Restrictions

As of last Friday November 25, the BC Government had lifted rental restrictions and age restrictions in strata communities throughout British Columbia. Exceptions such as short term airbnbs/vrbos and "senior-only communities" catering to those 55+, however, will continue to take effect. 

This was a sudden change by the government. What does this mean now?

Well, it opens up all strata buildings to allow for rentals where they previously did not allow for rentals or had limited the number of rentals to a certain number or percentage of units. Therefore, investors can now look in all buildings for potential rental properties. It also means that owners who previously needed to sell may consider renting out their unit instead. 

The government had implemented this in an effort to increase supply of rentals in the market and effectively decreasing rental prices.

As this change came on suddenly, I would suggest many buyers to take advantage of this time to BUY. In the past, buildings that did not allow for rentals typically have a lower average sale price than a comparable building that did allow for rentals. Therefore, many units in previously rental-restricted buildings are still being offered at a low price. In the future, prices in these buildings may come up as the buyer demographic opens up to not just owner-occupiers but owner-investors as well. With high rental values, this is a perfect opportunity for investor buyers to purchase!


Medallion Club - Top 10% of Realtors in Greater Vancouver

I am so grateful and over the moon to announce that I have been recognized as part of the Top 10% of Realtors in the Greater Vancouver area in 2021.
Thank you to all my clients and realtor partners for their trust and support. It has been a busy 2021 and I look forward to helping more families in 2022 and beyond!

Meet Kevin Banno - Kevin Banno - PREC*

Changes to Mortgage/Refinancing Qualifications

There are changes being made to MORTGAGE QUALIFYING which hasn't yet been set in stone, but if implemented, can affect all buyers hoping to get a mortgage or refinance in the next few months. 

Effective June 1st, the Federal Government will be making changes to all uninsured mortgages. What are uninsured mortgages? They affect buyers who are looking to put 20% or more down payment. If you have less than 20% down payment, this will not affect you.

If you are looking to purchase with more than 20% down payment, this will reduce your purchasing power by approximately 4-5%. 

Why? The Federal Government is tightening the stress test rate from 4.79% to 5.25%. For example, if you were looking for $620,000 in financing today, you may qualify for $590,000 after June 1st.

Nothing has been set in stone yet. The Federal Government may apply this for all purchases closing after June 1st so it is best to speak with your mortgage advisor TODAY.

In the meantime, if you are looking to buy, NOW would be a good time before changes to the stress test applies and you are able to apply for less mortgage. As interest rates are so low, the Federal Government is ensuring that homebuyers are able to afford mortgages if interest rates inevitably rise. 

Give me a call or text if you have any questions. If you need a contact for a mortgage broker, contact me and I can send you some AWESOME brokers your way! 


If you are thinking of buying a home, here is a brief update so you are prepared for today's real estate market. 

Based on what I have been seeing on the market lately, the real estate market in Greater Vancouver has been saturated with buyers and not enough listings. Homes that are well-priced have been seeing multiple offers, and/or having an accepted offer the same day it got listed. 

Therefore, I urge that if you are serious on buying a home, contact a Realtor (oh, hi ) so that we can monitor homes for you on a daily, if not multiple times throughout the day, basis. Then, we can get you in the home as soon as we can before everyone else does. This is the reality of the market that we are in currently, so you wouldn't want to miss out on the perfect home. 

Open Houses are still being discouraged by the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, although I have noticed a few pop up over this past weekend. Many listings are only doing showings by private appointment so you will want to contact your Realtor if you would like to view a home. 

One more update on the real estate market - as of July 1st, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) is tightening their regulations for insured mortgages. Insured mortgages are those who have less than 20% down payment. At least one of their purchasers on title has to have a credit score of at least 680. It was previously 600. Buyers will also no longer be able to borrow money towards their down payment. 

CMHC was considering raising the minimum down payment requirement from 5% to 10% but that was not passed. 


COVID-19 Phase 2: Looking Forward in the Real Estate Market

With the BC Government loosening some of the restrictions this week, we are experiencing a shift in the real estate market. Buyers are becoming more active and I expect to see more listings come on the market over the next few weeks. 

It has been a slow couple of months but here's to hoping that our economy will begin the process of going back to normal. While real estate is an essential service, it may be a while until there are open houses so virtual showings and showings by appointment are encouraged for the time being. 

There are currently 44,000 new homes being built across Greater Vancouver with 37,000 of those being condominimums. In the past, nearly half of those units were being sold to investors who either rented them out or left them vacant. 

Economists and banks all have various predictions on the real estate market and the housing prices over the next few years. For those who have been able to get through COVID-19 and are thinking of buying your first home or moving into a bigger home, now is your opportunity. 

If you are thinking of buying or selling, now is a great time to start dipping your toes in! Give me a call, text or email to discuss your real estate plans and what you should do moving forward. 

Source: Vancouver Sun


As we head into day #4251 of isolation (not really, but doesn't it feel like it?), here is an update on the May 2020 Real Estate Market in Greater Vancouver. 

Currently, prices have remained stable across condos, townhouses and detached houses in Greater Vancouver. According to Mark Ting, a financial analyst, “the main reason house prices are not currently dropping is due to government intervention” through government programs that is subsidizing or deferring payments for utility bills, property tax, income tax and mortgage payments. “All these programs have bought struggling homeowners some time, and have taken the pressure off to sell their homes.”

However, the unemployment levels are increasing. According to Moody's analytics, "for every one per cent increase in unemployment, house prices typically drop about 4 per cent. Based on this ratio, if our unemployment rate were to double from pre-COVID-19 levels, home values would drop by roughly 20 per cent." 

As COVID passes or if these subsidy programs run out, I believe we will see many more listings on the market. At the same time, there are also many buyers (especially first time homebuyers) waiting on the sidelines once this passes.

What does this mean for buyers and sellers thinking of making a move in the real estate market right now? There are some great deals right now. There are homes just sitting vacant or have been sitting on the market for a while, waiting for a buyer to snatch it at a good deal. For sellers, consider that unemployment levels may continue to increase which may decrease the value of your home next week or next month. 

Source: CBC 


To Buy or Not To Buy?

Congratulations on making it to another week!

My job is to live and breathe real estate 24/7 so here's a little update on the current market. There is a SHORTAGE of inventory and buyers on the market right now. What does that mean? Well, that means if you are thinking of buying, now is a great time to lock in some phenomenal prices! The homes that are being listed on the market are either vacant or are motivated to sell (because really, which seller would want strangers coming into their homes if they didn't really need to move right now!). 

I have had a few conversations with buyers lately on whether or not to buy real estate at this time. Over the past few weeks, I have had many buyers tell me that they have either lost their job or fear losing their job. All I can say is, hang in there - this will pass. If you haven't lost your job so far, kudos to you! Additionally, if you are thinking of buying real estate in the foreseeable future but are holding off because you fear losing your job, let's break it down together.

There are very legitimate concerns for the fear of losing your job right now. I think it is at the back of everyone's minds. But is it a perceived fear or a reality? Has your employer already started laying off workers? How is your company doing? How secure do you feel about your job? Without coming across as sounding insensitive or ignorant of each individual situation, our economy will definitely be hurting for quite some time. So if buying a home is a goal or on your radar, I would strongly encourage having an open conversation with your employer about your plans and if they can foresee anything happening to your job security. Once you have had that conversation with your employer and feel confident, ask for a letter of job confirmation so that you can get started on your financing pre-approval process! 

Since we don't know for sure how long this will last, we need to learn how to adapt to market conditions. I would be more than happy to help guide you through the home buying process to see if it is a good time for you to take advantage of the deals that are out there! 


Showing in COVID-19

Wow - it has been a while since I last blogged!

And boy, have things changed in this world since. So unless you have been hiding under a rock lately (which wouldn't be the worst thing in the world right now), you are aware of how much of an impact COVID-19 has had on our world and on our lives. It has changed the way we conduct the business of real estate as well.

Currently, there are no open houses being conducted. There are virtual open houses being scheduled online - you, as the buyer, can tune in at a particular time and watch the Realtor conduct a live open house. During this time, they can also answer any questions you may have, just like they would in person. 

Many listings now have virtual tours for you to view the property online. Ready to write an offer? Probably not. But many Listing Realtors will likely ask that buyers view the property online prior to making an appointment to view in person, to limit the amount of exposure these days. As a buyer, you also want to ensure you are financially pre-approved so that you know exactly how much you can afford and can hit the ground running.

Once COVID passes, I think virtual tours and open houses will be incorporated into the business of selling real estate. So we might as well start getting used to it!

So while the way we conduct real estate showings have changed lately, the business of buying and selling real estate is definitely still very much ON! 


First-Time Home Buyer Incentive - Starting in September!

With the beginning of September quickly approching (which is personally my favourite month because it is the start of crisp, autumn weather, warm vanilla lattes and my birthday), the Canadian government is also introducing the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive. It helps qualified first-time homebuyers reduce their mortgage, which in turn reduces their monthly mortgage payments and the amount of interest they have to pay on their mortgage. Many first-time homebuyers have asked me on this Incentive in the past few months.

What exactly is the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive? It is an interest-free loan on 5% of the purchase price (of a resale home). For example: if you are purchasing a $500,000, you will receive a $25,000 loan. You will not have to pay interest on this loan for 25 years. That means, you are reducing your mortgage amount by $25,000 - that's pretty awesome, if you ask me!

Who is qualified for the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive? It is available to first-time homebuyers whose annual incomes (combined) is $120,000 or less. Additionally, the first-time homebuyers' mortgage and incentive amount cannot exceed four times than their annual (combined) income. 

For more information on the First-Time Home Buyer Incentive, send me a message or give me a call and I would be more than happy to connect you with a mortgage professional to get you started.


EV Parking Coming to a Condo Near You! (Or Is it?)

With the rise of electric vehicles in BC, the need for charging stations in condos are becoming an increasing priority among homeowners. I was showing some buyers around this weekend and among their concerns was the need for an outlet to charge their electric vehicle. Many strata buildings, especially older ones, are feeling the pressure to install electric charging stations but many stratas lack the cost, time and expertise. 

Then there is the issue on how to charge the electricity costs back to the homeowner. Some condo buildings, such as Princess Gate in Coquitlam, are charging a flat $25 monthly rate to the homeowner but face the issue of having to reassign parking stalls to accomodate these changes. New buildings are being built with the consideration of electric vehicles in mind. 

There is also the risk of strata not allowing you to charge, especially if the homeowner has not requested for permission in advance. I have heard of some savvy some savvy homeowners running extension cables to the nearest electrical outlet, but strata may ask you to refrain from doing so if they deem it a hazard to other residents in the building.

If you have an electric vehicle, or are the 1 out of 2 Canadian planning on buying an electric vehicle as their next car, you may want to consult with your Realtor on electric vehicle parking in your next home! 

For more information, check out this article at The Tri-City News.

Source: The Tri-City News


First-Time Homebuyers - What To Expect

Buying a home can be a stressful experience for any buyer, regardless of whether you are buying for the first time or for your fifth time. When you are buying your home, you want a Realtor who will guide you through the homebuying process from beginning to end. Oh hi, that is where I come in!

The first step of the homebuying process is to get yourself pre-approved. Go to your local bank or mortgage broker and get pre-approved. That way, you will know how much you can afford. You will also be able to lock in your interest rates for typically a 90-day period while we shop around for your home. Of course, like any Realtor, you want to find a good mortgage broker. Ask me for some awesome mortgage brokers that will answer all your questions and get you started!

Step two. This is where I come in! I will look around for homes that are suitable for you. You will get to view the listings online, you pick out which ones you like and I will pick out ones that I think you will like, then bam - we go and view the homes together. Quite often, I will see a home that has just been listed and ask you if you are available to see it right away so we get in before other do - sometimes, timing is key. 

Lastly, you find a home you like and that is when I get busy! I will prepare the offer, advise and go over the terms and conditions with you step by step and work on getting you the home! 

See, there's nothing to it! All you have to do is find a home you love (and can afford it) and let me do the rest for you! 

Helpful Tip: If you have never purchase a home before, you are eligible for first-time homebuyer's benefits by purchasing a property under $500,000. You will save on the Property Transfer Tax, which is 1% on the first $200,000 of the purchase price and 2% on the balance up to $2,000,000, saving you potentially thousands of dollars. If the home is between $500,000 and $525,000, you will receive a partial refund on the Property Transfer Tax. 

NEXT WEEK - I will discuss the benefits of buying New Home Construction! 


Federal Budget 2019

The 2019 Federal Budget was announced yesterday, including incentives for first-time homebuyers that make less than $120,000 in combined household income per year. 

Between the Liberals’ renewed focus on making housing more affordable for Millenials, the NDP’s recently defeated proposed measures to increase supply with 500,000 new affordable units over the next decade, and the Conservatives sympathizing with Canadians about a so-called housing crisis – it’s clear that they’re just as uncertain about the market as Canadian homebuyers are. 

The government is increasing the amount that first-time buyers can withdraw from their RRSPs, from $25,000 per individual to $35,000 — or $70,000 per couple. That limit hasn’t been adjusted for 10 years, despite consistent growth in the housing market.

Prospective buyers who have the minimum down payment for a home can apply to finance between 5 and 10 per cent of their mortgage via a shared equity program administered by Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The 10 per cent cap applies to newly constructed homes.

Details of these incentives hasn't been released yet, but they are aiming to launch these programs in September 2019 in hopes of making housing more affordable across Canada. 

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